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Australia-bound Myanmar vessel rescued: Sri Lanka

COLOMBO -- A boatload of Myanmar nationals rescued from a sinking wooden craft off Sri Lanka's east coast after two months at sea had been trying to reach Australia, local police said Sunday.

The boatpeople, plucked to safety by Sri Lanka's navy on Saturday, were taken Sunday to the southern port of Galle where they were rushed to hospital to be treated for dehydration and starvation, police said in a statement.

It said 32 people were rescued, although initial reports from naval units had suggested there were 38.

A spokesman for Myanmar's embassy in Colombo said they were waiting to speak with the boatpeople before deciding on a course of action.

“We have been told of 32 people rescued and we are waiting to speak to them,” embassy spokesman Aung Soe Moe told AFP.

Sri Lankan police said the rescued boat people claimed they were in a group of 130 who put out to sea in three boats just over two months ago with the intention of reaching Australia. The fate of the others was not known.

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